Parents Prepare to Boycott Buffalo Schools

May 15, 2011 Updated May 15, 2011 at 11:31 PM EDT

By WKBW Internet

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May 15, 2011 Updated May 15, 2011 at 11:31 PM EDT

BUFFALO, NY (WKBW) - Monday's planned boycott of the Buffalo Public Schools and prayer rally downtown has already received a lot of attention, from critics and supporters alike.

The boycott and rally have been organized by the district's parents council, who say this direct action is the only way to have their voices heard when it comes to bringing change to the failing school system.

"I feel that will change after [after the rally]," says Patricia Elliott, a parent of three students who each attend different schools withing the Buffalo system.

Part of the issue for parents is that the lottery system often chooses which school students will attend. Often times, students need to bussed across town, and for parents like Patricia, a single,working mother, it makes it difficult to get involved with her children's school when they each attend a different one, all located throughout the city.

Parents also don't have the ability to vote on $987 million school budget, which is something they would like to see changed.

As for the rally and boycott; some have taken issue with the tactics being used by the DPCC.

"For a parent to tell a child, in effect, 'if you don't like what's going on in school it's okay to stay home,' is a terrible message to send to your child," says Phil Rumore, President of the Buffalo Teachers Federation.

Samuel Radford, Vice President for the DPCC disagrees, saying it's a tactic taken directly from the teacher's union.

"When it came down to ensuring his teachers got quality pay, you know what Phil [Rumore] did? He said let's go on strike....were we hurting children then? Because at the end of the day he though money was a good enough reason to hurt children," said Radford.

But boycott aside, Rumore and Radford do agree that the solution should start with the parents and the family at home.

The parents stress that they are looking for a harmony between parents, teachers and administrators, but add that they cannot continue to send their children to a failing system. That would be the definition of insanity.

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